Asperger Syndrome

What’s the Difference Between Asperger’s and NLD?

Comparing Nonverbal Learning Disability (NVLD or NLD) and autism (Asperger’s) is like comparing apples and oranges.  Asperger’s (now called autism spectrum disorder level 1) is a medical psychiatric diagnosis. An autism diagnosis is made by taking a careful history, observation, and sometimes questionnaires or interactive protocols. A deficit in social relationships is among the top criteria.  NLD is not a psychiatric or medical diagnosis listed in the DSM-V; it is a neuropsychological diagnosis from testing. NLD isn’t really a learning disability. It’s a pattern of strengths (verbal) and weaknesses (visual-spatial) found on neuropsycholocial testing. Both Aspergers and NLD would be considered "neurodiversity," a different way of having our brains be  "wired."

Asperger Syndrome

Is PTSD Inevitable for People with Asperger’s ?

A senior clinician who also works with Asperger’s and NLD clients told me that he feels most of his clients have PTSD. That sounds like an extreme, even surprising statement, but it’s probably true. PTSD results from trauma, and most people with spectrum social, sensory and processing traits experience childhood trauma - bullying, rejection and the constant message that they’re wrong and inadequate. For many, the trauma of these repeated experiences can...

Asperger Syndrome

Does Teaching Social Skills Teach Masking Asperger’s?

There’s an emphasis on teaching social skills to those with Asperger’s or NLD. There are different ways of looking at why those who are neurodivergent could benefit from learning these skills: one can see it as “fixing” someone who is not good enough at a “normal” process, or one can see it as providing useful skills and understanding to someone whose way of thinking and expressing himself is different.


April is Autism Awareness Month: Acceptance Is a Better Word

Why have a month for autism awareness? Look at the numbers- in 2014, the CDC estimated of the US population is on the autism spectrum, which is 1 in 59. The percentage is similar in other countries as well, and despite misconceptions otherwise, only 31% have co-existing intellectual disability.

Many people you would not suspect to be on the autism spectrum actually are, and experience social stress, anxiety, and sensory challenges. They might seem sort...

Asperger Syndrome

Explanations Aren’t Excuses: Understanding Asperger’s Thinking

People come to me asking to better understand individuals with Asperger’s or Nonverbal Learning Disability (neurodiverse). This usually happens when parents (and spouses) are frustrated by a family member’s behavior, resistance to what seems to be reasonable needs and expectations. They want to have things go more smoothly and are frustrated by refusals and meltdowns.

In turn, the neurodiverse individuals are frequently frustrated by the expectations they face. They often feel that...

Asperger Syndrome

Are Doctors Missing Asperger’s?

Most clinicians don’t think of autism when they diagnose “normal” looking people. They think of Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory or of the stereotype of the nerdy boy memorizing dates of WWII battles. Many high functioning people on the autistic spectrum (Asperger’s) and NLD (which is a neuropsychological profile with many Asperger's traits) don’t look like Sheldon or the stereotype and are still neurodiverse. This is especially true of girls, whose...

Asperger Syndrome

What’s The Balance Between Learning Social Skills and Acceptance Of Asperger’s And NLD?

Parents usually want Asperger's or NLD children to learn social skills to get along with school peers, family and others. Many with Asperger's feel that "neurotypicals" (those without Asperger's) should accept them as they are for who they are and all they have to offer. On the other hand, some with Asperger's lament that it seems others are born with a built in manual for social behavior; they feel lost, confused or overwhelmed without that manual.  

Asperger Syndrome

Too Smart To Have Asperger’s?

I've read posts by people who are neurodiverse (Aspergers, NLD) who actually wonder if they’re too smart. They don’t meet people’s expectations for “autistic” so their behavior is misinterpreted, their needs are overlooked and the expectations of their performance doesn’t take into account the challenges of their neurodiversity.